The indescribable agony of the people Newtown, Connecticut, in the wake of the horrible events of Friday are compounded by the knowledge that theirs is a community characterized by most as at once bucolic and safe. A place where violent crime is non-existent and criminal wrongdoing of any sort is rare.
Why then did the mother of Adam Lanza, the alleged perpetrator, have an arsenal of firearms? According to the latest reports, in addition to two semi-automatic handguns and a semi-automatic rifle recovered at the scene of the slaughter of young innocents, the police found other weapons in the Lanza home.
Which begs the question: if Newtown is as safe and secure as seems to be the case, a wonderful place to raise children in fact, why then did Lanza’s mother purchase an arsenal of firearms? Was she an avid fan of recreational shooting who visited gun ranges? Or did she simply feel safer with a bunch of handguns and rifles about the place? And how well were these weapons secured in the home – if at all?
This blog has advocated stronger gun controls in the past and believes we could benefit greatly from adopting more stringent Canadian-style regulations governing the ownership and storage of firearms.
The NRA is lying low at the moment as they always do in the immediate aftermath of mass shootings such as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. They will bide their time until emotions have cooled and then will launch their counterattack to the calls for stronger gun controls. The organization’s trained political lapdogs, mostly but not necessarily all Republicans, will be sent forth to mournfully express their sorrow at the events in Newtown but will opine that what we don’t need is more gun laws. They’ll be joined at the right moment by the NRA’s leading mouthpiece, Wayne LaPierre, who will yap on endlessly about how more gun laws would not have prevented this tragedy and what we really need is more armed citizens (maybe we should now lower the minimum age to five for owning a handgun?) to stop these events in their tracks. After all, if only the janitor had been packing a .357 magnum…
In this particular case, a Canadian-style requirement for firearms to be stored securely might have prevented this awful massacre. If Lanza’s mother had owned a secure safe for the storage of her weapons and if she knew that her son was struggling with anger or similar issues, she could have saved all those lives by simply locking her weapons away and hiding the key or combination from him. Best of all, of course, was if she had never purchased the guns in the first place.
And herein lays the great irony of this tragic event. The shooter’s mother had an arsenal of weapons that she clearly did not need for her safety, because Newtown is a safe community where people know one another, look out for each other. And now thanks to her son’s access to deadly weaponry, the name will be forever linked with one of the greatest, most heinous crimes in American history.
On the issue of guns, America has lost its perspective, its senses and its sanity – and now, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, a precious group of its children and their courageous principal and teachers. May God give us the wisdom, the strength and the courage so that something good can still come from so much pain and anguish.